What’s in a Name? (Tenstrike)

by Sue Bruns (from The Depot Express newsletter, Summer 2014)

In May 1899, a post office was established in a little logging community on the shores of Gull Lake just north of Bemidji. The village of Tenstrike was incorporated on March 11, 1901.

From 1901-1915, the little community published a newspaper called the Tenstrike Tribune. The M & I Railroad ran through Tenstrike and into the lake on which two different sawmills operated, sawing logs purchased from settlers.

In the early 1900s Tenstrike was home to thirteen saloons, four grocery stores, several hotels, two lodges, a post office, two meat markets, a city hall, several sawmills, a box factory, two cemeteries, and four churches to serve a population of about 2000.

The most commonly accepted story about the source of this community’s name is that a Mr. M. R. Brown, then mayor of Crookston, Minnesota, set up timber buying stations in various locations in northern Minnesota for the Crookston Lumber Company. The buying station on Gull Lake turned out to be quite profitable, due to the extensive forests in the area. According to the story, Mr. Brown said, “I surely made a TENSTRIKE in locating my trading post here.”

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